When is the best time to move?
The busiest times for moving companies are during the summer months, May 15 - September
15. At the end of these months, the volume of shipments is extremely heavy. This
is the case for all professional relocation and moving companies.
Take all the factors into consideration when deciding on the best time for you to
move. If you have some flexibility in your schedule, provide the moving company
with a five-day window for loading your shipment. This will allow the individuals
who schedule the drivers and moving crew members greater flexibility when scheduling
your move. If possible, be flexible with your destination timeframe as well. Keep
in mind that you most likely are not the only shipment the truck is moving. If you
stay flexible, it should make a difference.
How do I select which moving companies will provide me with a free moving estimate?
Determine if you need a full service moving company. Research local, national or
long distance moving companies. Ask your neighbors, friends, coworkers and family
members if they can make recommendations. Investigate each of the movers you select
with the Better Business Bureau. Good service is the best measure of a goodmover!
When should I begin contacting moving companies for free moving estimates?
Try to provide the moving companies with as much notice as possible, especially
if you are moving during the busy season as noted above. Six weeks from the actual
move date is not too early for estimators to come into your home to complete what
they refer to as a "visual survey of your household goods shipment." Add
even more time to make a decision if you are obligated by your employer to submit
moving estimates for a corporate relocation. Try to decide whichmover you will use
four weeks from your actual load day. Call themover to confirm your booking and
schedule your packing, loading and delivery dates. This timeframe can be shortened
in the off peak season which is September 15 through May 15.
What happens when a relocation specialist comes to my home?
The relocation specialist will arrive at your home to complete the visual survey
of your items. Once this is completed, the relocation specialist will calculate
the weight, packing cost and any other charge related to your move. Remember that
the relocation specialist must clearly see what you are moving in order to provide
you with an accurate estimate. Crawl spaces, attics, and cluttered closets can be
deceiving, so organize your house before the relocation specialist arrives.
Don't be alarmed if the relocation specialist goes through all your cabinets and
closets or looks under beds and on top of cabinets. He or she must be able to see
what is moving and possibly needs packing. If you know of items that are out of
view, be certain to point them out to the relocation specialist. If there are items
you will be eliminating, be sure to point them out.
One word of caution that can save you a great deal of trouble on loading day. Get
rid of all items you do not plan to move. Otherwise, there may not be enough space
for your shipment. This will not occur on one or two small items, but if you anticipated
eliminating an entire bedroom suite and do not do so, it is quite possible that
this could violate the integrity of your binding estimate and/or cause the driver
to run out of space.
Pricing and Paperwork
What is a binding estimate?
A binding estimate is a contract that specifies, in advance, the precise cost of
moving based on the services requested or deemed necessary at the time of the estimate.
If additional moving services are requested or required at either origin or destination,
the total cost will increase.
What is a non-binding estimate?
A non-binding estimate charges you according to the actual weight of your shipment
and the actual cost of the moving services that are performed. You will still go
though the estimating process to determine what your shipment may cost.
To verify the weight of your shipment, the driver will weigh his trailer prior to
loading your shipment. Once your shipment is on board, the driver will weigh his
trailer again. All other moving charges will be calculated at your origin address.
If there are any additional charges that are incurred during the delivery process,
the driver will provide you with the additional cost. This is a rare event, but
it may occur.
How is the cost of my shipment calculated?
If you are moving to a new state, the charges are based on the weight of your shipment
and mileage. These are referred to as the transportation charges. There are a variety
of different moving charges that could appear on your estimate, so be sure to ask
your relocation specialist to explain each charge for you. Some of the additional
charges that may appear include packing, crating, valuation or coverage, bulky article
charge for oversized items, and extra labor. Again, be certain you understand these
charges so that you can accurately compare the estimates you receive.
How should I pay and what are the payment methods?
Tariff provisions require that all moving charges be paid before your shipment is
unloaded at the destination. Payments can be made using cash, certified check, or
money order. Other payment options such as a credit card can be arranged with your
professional moving service provider. Discuss these options with the relocation
specialist and/or the customer-service representative assigned to your shipment.
In the event that your employer is paying for the move, the employer may pre-arrange
to be billed via invoice. Whatever works for you is great. Just be sure to have
this all worked out prior to packing and loading. If the method of payment is not
established prior to load day, it can cause you problems on delivery day.
What is an order for service?
All movers are required to prepare an Order for Service before they transport your
shipment. The order for service provides you with written confirmation of the moving
services that you requested to be performed in conjunction with your shipment. It
lists the agreed upon dates for the pickup and delivery of your shipment and the
amount of valuation that you requested, along with any special services that you
ordered and a place and telephone number where themover can contact you during the
The order for service also shows the charges that you will be assessed for your
household move or corporate relocation. If you are moving under a non-binding estimate,
the order for service will indicate the amount of the estimated non-binding charges,
the method of payment for the charges and, in case the actual charges exceed the
non-binding estimate, the maximum amount that you are required to pay at the time
of delivery to obtain possession of your shipment (you will have 30 days following
delivery to pay the balance of the charges due). If you are moving under a binding
estimate, the order for service will show the charges that you will be required
to pay at delivery, based on the binding estimate and the terms of payment. You
and yourmover must sign the order for service.
What is a Bill of Lading?
Everymover is required to prepare a bill of lading for every shipment transported.
The bill of lading is the receipt for your goods and the contract with yourmover
for their transportation. The driver who loads your shipment must give you a copy
of the bill of lading.
It is your responsibility to read and understand the information on the bill of
lading before you sign it. The bill of lading identifies themover and specifies
when the transportation is to be performed. It also specifies the terms and conditions
for payment of the total moving charges and the maximum amount required to be paid
at the time of delivery if you are moving under a non-binding estimate. Information
regarding the valuation of your shipment and the amount themover will be liable
for in the event of loss or damage is also shown.
What is an Inventory?
The driver will usually inventory your shipment as he or she loads it (but it's
not required by law). When completed, the inventory provides a detailed, descriptive
listing of your household goods and the condition of each item when received by
Be sure that everything listed on the inventory is correct. This is not always the
easiest task, as you will find things written on the inventory such as PBO,
which means packed by owner. The contents of this carton can't and won't be listed
because the driver is not able to see inside each and every box. You will also find
CP on a line item in the inventory. This means Carrier Packed container.
These are two important listings.
You will also notice that in the middle column on the inventory form a line that
has many letters and numbers associated with a specific item but it may make no
sense to you. This is where the driver uses inventory code to make note of the condition
of that particular piece. To understand this code, look at the top of the inventory
sheet for the legend that explains what that code means. For instance, SC –
scratched; C – chipped; 3 – right side of piece; 8 - top of the piece.
This is a simple way for the driver to make note of any irregularity or existing
Remember, this inventory is for you to keep track of what is loaded and the condition
of each item. If damage occurs on a particular piece during the loading process,
get the inventory tag number on that item and make a note in the far right hand
column on the line that corresponds with that piece. This is the document that will
be scrutinized when the claims process is initiated so it is important to have the
damage clearly noted.
This inventory should also be used at destination when your shipment is delivered.
Use the inventory to verify the articles that are delivered and again note an exception
to the condition of the items as they are brought into your home. Point out the
damage to the driver.
What often occurs is that a piece of furniture has been in your home for many years
and you grow accustomed to looking at it in a certain place and in a certain light.
When you bring that same piece into your new home, you may notice damage that may
have been there for a long time. The driver will have noted the scratch or chip
at your origin residence. If you are not sure if it was existing damage or new damage,
ask your driver to explain the condition of the piece as he noted on the inventory
during the loading process. This is the quickest way to clear up what is new damage
and what was there all along.
Our drivers are very careful about the way they handle your items and the inventory
is their safeguard against felonious-damage claims. Use this inventory as a positive
tool to make sure that you are protected just as the driver will use it to protect
himself or herself.
Can I pack anything in the drawers of my dresser or desk?
All loose items must be packed in boxes to prevent loss or damage while moving.
It is recommended that you pack all items and leave the drawers empty.
Will the driver load all the boxes that I packed?
Yes, as long as the driver deems them safe for transport.
How should I pack my waterbed?
Waterbeds need to be drained completely. Fiber-filled waterbeds need to be professionally
vacuum-drained in advance of your moving date.
Can I pack and move my plants?
Most moving companies will not take your plants. The stress and heat of being inside
the moving trailer usually causes them to die. Many states do not allow the entry
of plants while other states will admit plants under certain conditions. There are
some states that have no regulations at all. Be sure to understand your state's
regulations prior to moving the plants in your own vehicle.
What should I do with my jewelry and other valuable items?
Items of extraordinary value such as jewelry, money, antiques, and stamp collections
can be included in your shipment, provided that you notify your local moving representative
of these items before packing and moving day. It is strongly recommended that you
carry irreplaceable and expensive articles with you or make other arrangements for
In the moving industry, items worth more than $100 per pound are considered to be
articles of "extraordinary" value. To be assured that a claim involving
these articles is not limited to minimal liability, complete and sign your mover's
version of a high-value inventory form. Also be sure to sign the "Extraordinary
(Unusual) Value Article Declaration" box on the Bill of Lading.
Eachmover has a slightly different procedure to follow as it relates to high-value
items. Ask your relocation specialist to provide you with an explanation of the
company's process. This is a confusing but important task, so make sure that you
clearly understand the rules prior to load day.
How do I prepare my appliances for moving?
Appliances such as washers, dryers, and refrigerators must be disconnected, and
the washer must have a stabilizer installed. Again, your estimator can help you
understand how these items are serviced. All local moving companies have business
relationships with local service providers that handle this type of service. Full
service moving companies and national moving companies will also be able to provide
all of the moving services you require. Be sure you know who yourmover will be using
as you will need to let these people into your home to provide the service.
How will you protect my upholstered furniture?
We use a special material called stretch-wrap. It is a heavy, clear-plastic wrap
that protects your furniture from being soiled.
Valuation of Coverage
Am I protected against loss or damage while my goods are in transit?
Yes, but how much protection you have and its cost to you depends upon the valuation
coverage you selected. This can be one of the most confusing aspects to moving but
it is important that you understand what is being provided to you.
The valuation option you choose determines the basis upon which any claim will be
adjusted and the maximum liability of the carrier. The liability of a carrier for
loss or damage is based upon the carrier's tariffs, as well as federal laws and
regulations that have certain limitations and exclusions. Valuation is not insurance.
This is important to understand. It is the liability of the moving company. Check
with the provider of your homeowner's insurance to find out if you are covered for
moving. Often you will find that you are.
Released Value – This is the most economical as there is no additional
cost. However, this option provides only minimal protection and is not sufficient
coverage for most shipments. It will pay you $.60 per pound per article if lost
or damaged while moving. That means a piece of furniture weighing 75 lbs would receive
a settlement of $45.00. You will be asked to initial the bill of lading if you select
this coverage. The only place this is applicable is if your insurance policy covers
your goods for their entire value and this would be considered supplemental coverage
for your move.
Full Maximum Value Protection – This is your most comprehensive coverage.
You may hear it referred to as "full replacement value" as well as "full
value protection” by other van lines. If you elect to purchase full value
protection, articles that are lost, damaged, or destroyed will be either repaired
or replaced with like items, or a cash settlement will be made for the current market
replacement value, regardless of the age of the lost or damaged item. Depreciation
of the lost or damaged item is not a factor in determining replacement value when
the shipment is moved under full value protection.
The cost of full value protection may be subject to various deductible levels of
liability that may reduce your cost. Ask yourmover for the details of their specific
How do I prepare my home and myself for move day?
Yourmover may ask you to choose several consecutive days during which your goods
may be loaded. The number of days in what is referred to as a "load spread"
depends upon the size of your shipment and the time of the year when your shipment
is loaded. Remember to try to remain flexible during the busy moving season by allowing
for extra days on your load spread, to have a better chance of securing a truck
and driver to load your shipment.
The customer-service representative and/or driver will contact you at least 24 hours
prior to load day to let you know the time of arrival. Be sure to let them know
of any changes that have taken place that may effect loading day. A good example
of changes that may take place is that the street in front of your home is now under
construction, preventing the large over-the-road truck to get near your home. Or
perhaps you haven't completed packing due to some unanticipated event. Contact your
mover as soon as possible so that they can send out professional packers to complete
the job for you.
Make sure your home is ready for the crew. Move anything off the porch and walkways
that may obstruct movement of your goods out of the home. Take doors off the hinges
if you know certain items will not fit through. Remove all small throw rugs from
traffic areas that could cause the driver or crew to trip or slip.
Have water, Gatorade, or soda on hand for the driver and crew, especially on a hot
summer day. Our movers will come prepared but will be grateful for your thoughtfulness.
Our drivers will prepare the home with runners, door jam protectors, and railing
protectors if applicable. This will help save on the little knocks that occur during
the loading process.
How will I know where my shipment is once it leaves my home?
The North American Van Lines' satellite tracking capabilities will allow you to
trace the whereabouts of your shipment and driver, often over the internet. Please
ask your relocation specialist for details on shipment tracking.
How will I know when my shipment is going to be delivered?
Your driver will contact you 24 hours before delivery. The moving company will assign
a customer-service representative as your primary contact and will be able to track
your shipment and provide you with an update as to the date your goods will arrive.
Be certain to provide the driver with all your contact information. The phone number
at the new home is only good if there is a person there to take the call. If you
can be reached at work, a hotel, a temporary residence, or by email, let the driver
know. If you will be impossible to reach, make arrangements with a friend or family
member to serve as the liaison between you and the driver and provide the driver
with that contact information.
How do I file and receive my settlement on my claim?
Claims are always unpleasant – no one wants to have to deal with the problem
but damage sometimes does occur when moving and claims are a result. The best advice
is to understand the claims-settlement procedure prior to moving. It is important
that you understand your coverage and how to proceed through the claims process.
Claims adjusters are people with a difficult job. It is better to approach them
with kindness than anger. Understand your moving coverage and be certain to have
the proper documentation in the form of an inventory with the damage noted.